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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles


A.M. Journal

Imam’s Confab Speech: Part 5

Imam W. Deen Mohammed


(Editor's note: Following are excerpts from Imam W. Deen Muhammad's address at the 1st National Political Awareness Convention, held Aug. 25, 1984 at the Convention Center, Washington, D.C.)

WE ARE farther behind in bringing up the African-American minority people in employment opportunities. We are farther behind now than we were 30 years ago. That's depressing. That statement, sitting or standing by itself, hurts us rather than helps.

When you read the whole report from the National Urban League, you don't come away with a depressed feeling; that report was designed to bring serious attention to the private sector, the business sector and the government, so they would cooperate and make the situation better.

BUT THEY FAILED to include also information that will protect us against the attack of this negative kind of report. But when the demagogues — the unfaithful, disloyal crop of our politicians — go and get the Urban League report, or get some kind of fact-finding organization's report, they play with our emotions and just give us the worst news. And they think they are helping their people? No! They are making us more distrustful.

We have had so many disappointments, we should be given hope!

If anyone gives us bad news, they have to be very tactful as they share the bad news with us. Because if they are not, they themselves will be the cause and the factor for burdening the minds and killing the spirit for progress in their own lives.

I'VE GOTTEN to the place that I'm so dissatisfied and I'm so irritated by the African-American preacher-politicians who come to us, appeal to us, play on our emotions to get our support, and tell us nothing but bad news to make us think America is hopeless. They are not helping us, they are leading us into more frustration. They are killing our spirit for progress.

What I am representing, in the name of this community or in the name of the driving force, includes also attention to the psychological accounts and psychological things in our lives that work against hope and against trust.

I now quote from the book by Dr. Na'im Akbar entitled, "Psychological Slavery":
"Even today, there is an unnatural equation. Caucasian physical teachers rebuke intelligence, authority and so forth. A disproportionate number of professionals educated in so-called 'beautiful African-American' have predominately Caucasian features."

LOOK AT THE young man whom I really admire, a genius — perhaps one of the greatest performers who ever stepped on a stage. A man with extremely excellent talent, but many of you all prefer to call it "curly locks," or something — I'm talking about Michael Jackson.

He had an operation on his nose to make it sharper, keener, more European-like. Now, I don't know if that's what he had in mind when he got the operation, but that's the message that we're going to get, because we have a history of deforming and torturing ourselves to make ourselves look like other people.

DR. NA'IM AKBAR has brought out something very important here. But here is the point of attention. Why do we want to imitate our past oppressors? Why do we want to look like our pasts oppressors? That is unheard of in the life of oppressed people — that they want to be like the oppressors so much they event want to change their physical features so that they will look like them. Why?

It is because of our peculiar circumstance of total dependence in our turning to the white man for help - who presented his image as God — that we reject our own self, reject our own identity. We distrust our own people — that's the reason.

The teacher of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad sought to undo that, to reverse it by giving us "black" as God. I'm sure that he felt the answer was to give us a typical black image as God. But he knew that our psychological makeup, our fascination with the white man's image was so deep and so strong in us that if he had given us a black image, most of us would have rejected it. So he gave us a picture that looked like a white man. I know, because I had it on my wall in my house as a child; my mother and father had it, we all had it.

He gave us a picture of a man dressed like any other white man, and said that was God. But he said God was black. He was hoping that maybe the idea would eventually remove the picture-change the picture. But it did not.

I HAVE SCIENTIFIC proof that it is not. I have tested you. I have tried my best to get those who were taught that teaching to respond to directives in the name of their own people, and if they didn't respond, then when I would give them directives in the name of a Caucasian person, they responded.

Even in 1975, '76, '78, '79. and '80 — even now, most of you don't respond when you see directives coming straight from me or straight from a person of my race. But if it comes from a foreigner, you respond readily.

Let's see can we understand, because understanding will dissolve the problems. In the Bible it says "And the truth shall make you free." But most of you are not ready to take the truth because you don't understand our circumstances. We think we are to blame. No fool is to blame for his circumstance; only when he sees the light and won't follow it. then he's to blame.